Colorful Hillcrest Motel in Sheffield, Alabama. 2010 by Carol M. Highsmith.
This excerpt is from the introduction to the essay by Riel, The Monadology of Louis Riel (Regina, Saskatchewan, 1885)
This is a translation of Louis Riel’s Mémoire sur les Monades, composed in prison while awaiting execution. Riel was hanged in Regina in November, 1885. To read the original French, go here. For a brief biography of Riel, go here. Riel’s version of the theory of monads is creative, to say the least, and adds many elements that are entirely absent in Leibniz’s version. But it is clear that he is drawing on a fairly good memory of his philosophical education at the Sulpician college in Montreal several decades earlier. Also, as a variation on the theory of monads, it is well within the bounds of the variations we see in the long reception history of the Monadology. Physical monadology was in fact the predominant interpretation of the theory throughout most of the 18th-century (see Kant’s 1755 Monadologia physica). If we think of the theory of monads as a special variety of qualitative atomism, moreover, then the addition of features such as gender to the fundamental elements of reality has some precedent as well; Henry Power, for example, held that corpuscles variously have a male or female charge. The interpretation of monadic energy in terms of ‘electricity’ also makes sense as a sort of reinterpretation in the terms of 19th-century science of the Leibnizian concept of active force.
The bio link is interesting regarding the history of Riel and his fight for the land and other rights of the native Metis tribe of Canada, but doesn’t go into the strange pseudo-science of monadology.
A monad is an electricity. Some monads are some electricities. Monads are electricities.
A male monad is a positive electricity.
A female monad is a negative electricity.